Eco-luxury child of Fabia and Nicolas Bausch, located on the south side of Lake Manyara, just north of Tarangire National Park, and quickly gaining a reputation for providing an experience as real as it is other worldly, Chem Chem is a one off, the sort of lodge that is as likely to grace the pages of Italian Vogue as it is host a team of conservationists investigating the setting up of northern Tanzanian wildlife corridors. Chem Chem introduces something new into the northern parks of Tanzania and we applaud its originality.
Set in a mixed habitat of palm and scrub, a stone, wood and canvas build overlooking a busy waterhole, Chem Chem consists of a main lodge and 7 sleeping tents. Marked by a winding and tropical-feel approach, the lodge is linked by raised wooden walkways, its shared areas including a dining room, lounge, boma, pool, spa, bar and library. Characterised by a most original look, the staggered roofing, the open sides and polished concrete flooring combining to a create a look at once vintage and chic, everything here – antique seating, found wood furnishings, the enormous communal dining table, simple rugs, stressed throws – is wonderfully considered, the final design such as to give the impression that there is no real line marking what is in and what is out. Fantastically cave-like, yet at the same time airy, large and sweeping, it is a design steeped in contradictions, one that as free as it is comforting.
Clearly all about authentic stakeholder partnerships, Chem Chem is known locally for providing high quality opportunity and the wages to match, a level of care and respect reflected not only in the professionalism of the service, but also in the positivity of working relationships. The kitchen, annually trained up by a visiting Michelin star chef, knows exactly what it’s about, meaning the food – French, European, classic – is as beautifully presented as it is delicious, while the service, from kitchen to floor, is exemplary. And don’t forget to sample the cellar – it’s deep and adventurous.
Situated on either side of the main lodge, the sleeping rooms at Chem Chem are equally fine. Though slightly different in terms of look and capacity, each includes a double bed, seating area, writing desk, en suite bathroom, private balcony and slumber sala. A less-is-more approach to the interior design, the rooms are characterised by the well-made – brass standing fans, linen sheets, super-comfortable mattresses, campaign furnishings – and by an approach that is, like the main lodge, all about bringing the outside in. More luxury pod than standard lodge room, it’s an exceptional stay.
Activities at Chem Chem include game drives, guided walks, cultural visits and sundowners – the last of which takes place in the most unbelievably beautiful surroundings.